New charity, Inclusive Books for Children (IBC) announces an illustrious judging panel for its inaugural awards.
Jeffrey Boakye, author, speaker and educator; A.M. Dassu, author, campaigner and director of Inclusive Minds; Aoife Dooley, writer, illustrator, comedian and graphic designer; Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, content creator and leading advocate for LGBTQ+ and disability rights; Farrah Serroukh, interim executive director, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE); and Sonali Shah, author and TV and radio broadcaster will form the esteemed lineup of children’s literature experts and inclusivity advocates judging the awards.
Celebrating the charity’s mission for positive change in the children’s book space, a total prize fund of £30,000 will be awarded to authors and illustrators of the best books demonstrating inclusivity in three categories: books for babies and toddlers aged one to three, picture books for ages three to seven and children’s fiction for ages five to nine.
Co-founders of Inclusive Books for Children, Marcus and Sarah Satha, said:
“We’re thrilled to reveal our amazing judging panel, each and every one of whom is an expert in their field and a heartfelt advocate for inclusivity. We can’t wait to find out who will take home the prize in each category!”
The Inclusive Books for Children Awards are open to UK publishers, free to enter and will close on Friday 27 October 2023. The shortlists will be revealed in January 2024, with winners announced at a ceremony in March 2024. More details on eligibility and how to submit an entry can be found here.
This latest awards announcement follows the charity’s website launch last month, supported by official ambassador Nadiya Hussain MBE. The website presents hundreds of expert reviews and recommendations of inclusive children’s books, in an easy-to-navigate format that allows users to find titles featuring protagonists with specific characteristics, browse booklists curated by theme or types of representation, and much more.
Nadiya Hussain MBE, chef, author, television presenter, parent and ambassador for Inclusive Books for Children, said: “As a mum, I’m always trying to make sure that my children can see themselves represented in the media they consume and Inclusive Books for Children is the perfect platform for finding exactly what I’m looking for.”
A recent study by YouGov, commissioned by IBC, revealed that 64% of parents from all backgrounds would actively choose to read their child a book with a diverse mix of characters.
Judges’ comments on the Inclusive Books for Children Awards:
- Jeffrey Boakye: “As a writer of books from so-called marginalised perspectives, and a lover of literature from my youth, I know the vital importance of diverse voices in publishing. This is an important prize that recognises the excellence in minoritised writers and acknowledges the breadth of lived experiences that children can enjoy and learn from.”
- M. Dassu: “I’m delighted to be a judge for the inaugural Inclusive Books for Children Awards. It’s so important for children to see themselves represented from the moment they can hold a book. For some, it can be a life-changing moment and so celebrating the best inclusive books from ages one to nine is something I’m really passionate about. I’m looking forward to supporting IBC’s long-term objectives!”
- Aoife Dooley: “I’m so proud to join such an incredible panel of talent and sit amongst some of the sector’s strongest campaigners. I’m super excited to get reading and discovering the books that every child deserves to read!”
- Jessica Kellgren-Fozard: “Accessible children’s books with diverse perspectives are not just stories; they’re windows into a world where everyone belongs. When we amplify these voices and experiences, we not only empower young readers to embrace their own identities but also nurture empathy, compassion and acceptance in the hearts of our future generation. It’s an honour to be included in this year’s judging panel and I can’t wait to be introduced to new and exciting authors.”
- Farrah Serroukh: “Celebrating and promoting high quality inclusive and representative books is at the core of what we do at CLPE. This is because we believe that all children should have access to a treasure trove of transformative titles. I look forward to reading the submissions to the IBC award, an award that seeks to shine a light and uplift the crucial creatives that bring stories to life with their awe-inspiring talent.”
- Sonali Shah: “As a parent who had to write a book because I couldn’t see my own kids represented in the mainstream, I’m excited about getting involved with Inclusive Books for Children — a platform which makes it easy to have a balanced bookshelf. I can’t wait to celebrate the talent making it possible for children everywhere to feel included in the books they read.”
For more information about Inclusive Books for Children and the Awards, visit: www.inclusivebooksforchildren.org
About Inclusive Books for Children (IBC)
Inclusive Books for Children is a registered UK charity no. 1201129. IBC was founded in 2022 by Sarah and Marcus Satha, book-loving parents to two, young, mixed-heritage children. They experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to source children’s books that adequately represent different ethnicities, disabilities, and the modern family — and don’t draw on gender stereotypes, and created a website to help address this issue.
Each book recommended on IBC’s website is presented with a short review and an even shorter synopsis, to help time-pressed parents and caregivers with their book-buying decisions. Recommendations take into account the quality of the writing and illustrations, age/stage suitability as well as the depth of inclusivity; and top picks are highlighted on the website with a star.
All book recommendations, reviews and lists are curated by experts from relevant professional fields including education, CLPE, library services and children’s publishing, all of whom are also experts in inclusivity, and free from any commercial influence.
Affiliate links to third-party retailer Bookshop.org mean IBC’s site visitors can click straight through to make a purchase, supporting independent bookshops, A small percentage of each Bookshop.org sale goes directly to IBC and contributes to the charity’s overheads, at no additional cost to the purchaser.
The project runs in parallel with IBC’s provision of funding to other not-for-profit organisations also working to improve inclusivity in children’s books, and access to those books.
About the YouGov Survey
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1003 parents. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7–11 September 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB parents (with children aged 18 and under).